After two years of editing and writing for this blog I am moving to a slightly different role within the university and am passing on my editorial rights. I have written many thousands of words and have always been alert to find the next post topic. It seems strange to be bowing out and I feel as though I am abandoning a much loved but sometimes exhausting family member.
So what to blog about in a final post? After the Brexit vote it feels like a very uncertain world. We’re already seeing some graduate salaries falling and can have no confidence about what is going to happen in the job market over the next months and years. I’m going to go back to basics and share my 5 very top tips for successful job hunting – in any market!
1. Be Confident
Many of us have just watched Andy Murray win Wimbledon. He plainly believed in himself and his ability and was able to put his past disappointments to one side. The same personal confidence is essential to successful job hunting. If you don’t believe that you can do a good job, then you stand no chance of being able to convince an interview panel that this is the case!
This isn’t about the arrogant, swashbuckling approach, it’s much more to do with a quiet inner belief that you would be able to do a great job. Look at job opportunities objectively and if you believe that you have what it takes, then don’t be scared to go for it.
2. Be Realistic
Have you got the essential skills or experience that the employer is looking for? It’s great to be aspirational but if you simply can’t demonstrate that you have the relevant, required experience then you may be wasting your time making applications. Look at job specifications carefully. Generally if you can’t meet at least 80% of the employer’s requirements it’s probably not worth your time making the application. Conversely if you can demonstrate that you have all the skills required don’t be put off if you don’t have as much experience as the employer is asking for.
3. Commit to the process
There is no point in making a half-hearted application, it’s simply a waste of your time. The job market is competitive, particularly at graduate level, if you rush your application it’s going to be obvious to recruiters. Perhaps your application is a bit scrappy, a few misspellings or grammar mistakes, maybe it’s a tad generic – a copy and paste job from the last application? It could be that you didn’t bother to answer all the questions or stick to the required word counts? The recruiters are going to notice and your application won’t make the first cut. Either commit to doing the very best application of which you are capable, no matter how long that takes, or, don’t bother at all.
4. Extract all the learning opportunities you can
Most job hunters make more than one application before they secure a job offer. The progression from unsuccessful application to job offer usually involves the ability to learn from your mistakes as you go. If you go a long way in a process and get to interview or assessment centre you’ll normally be able to get feedback on your application, don’t pass up the opportunity to hear what went well in addition to what might not have been quite so good. If you dropped out of the process at an earlier stage it’s about being self-critical. Do you know the point at which your application failed? If it was at the stage of the online tests had you practised them? If it was at video interview stage did you dress for the process, find a quiet space and prepare properly? What about the application form, was it good enough? If you are not sure what might have let you down go and see the careers department, we might be able to give you some useful pointers.
5. Remember that you first job does not have to be “the one” for life
Your first job doesn’t necessarily have to be the dream job. Don’t set your expectations too high, it’s unlikely that the first job will see you running a FTSE 100 company! It can be really useful to think about the skills you would like to gain at this stage in your life and consider what post will help you to acquire them. Your career is likely to be a journey and it may take you in many different directions at different times, be open to that and don’t get too hung up trying to get a job in one specific area or field. Sometimes thinking more laterally can throw up really exciting options.
And finally, do have a look at my youtube resources which reprise much of this post Legal careers advice. If you have enjoyed my blog posts you might want to subscribe to the channel – there’s a lot more to come!